What year did you start the program?
What are your prior degrees and at which institutions?
BS, Kinesiology, University of Rhode Island, 2009 MS, Occupational Therapy, Boston University, 2012
What was your favorite course in the program?
Tie between Quality Improvement and Program Evaluation in the Health Profession (OH 888) and Dissemination Science and Advancing Practice of the Health Professions (OH 889)
What was your Innovation Project title?
In the ICU with Jessie Franco: Training Competent Neuro ICU Occupational Therapy Practitioners
Tell us about your Innovation Project.
One of my professional passions and the focus of my innovation project is advancing the role of OT in the intensive care unit (ICU). The ICU is a challenging practice setting that requires occupational therapy practitioners to have basic medical knowledge, safety awareness, strong clinical reasoning skills, and confidence. However, a standardized training program does not exist causing many students and new practitioners to feel unprepared and overwhelmed when working in the ICU. This lack of knowledge may lead to a chronic and reduced presence of OT in the ICU, resulting in prolonged patient hospitalizations and impaired functional recovery. My innovation project aims to enhance knowledge and skill implementation to increase confidence and competence for OTs working in the Neurology ICU. I developed a neurology ICU training program involving self-paced online learning and mentorship supported by an evidence-based educational website, In the ICU with Jessie Franco (https://www.intheicuwithjessie.com/). I conduced a pilot study to assess the effectiveness of self-paced online learning and structured mentorship to increase knowledge and confidence. This endeavor proved to be successful demonstrating that this model of learning paired with structured mentorship increasing knowledge and improves confidence for therapists working in the neurology ICU.
What do you think is special about the Post-Professional OTD program here at the MGH Institute?
Classes were thoughtfully developed to teach the skills required to become both a leader and innovator regardless of practice setting. You can immediately apply skills learned in the classroom to your workplace. Despite the online environment, we were able to foster a close knit and supportive community.
Why did you choose to come to this program?
The online program at MGH IHP was designed for full-time working practitioners, allowing for an easier return to school for my PP-OTD while continuing to work. Additionally, the innovation project stood out from other programs. I liked the focus on identifying a clinical practice problem and meaningfully working to create an effective and long-lasting solution.
What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
I hope to further develop my leadership skills serving as a change agent in my workplace, integrating knowledge learned to further the role of occupational therapy within my hospital, especially the ICU. I am also interested in transitioning to the academic realm to educate the next generation of therapists.